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Running Rebels Take Down CATS

Chris Rodriguez - photo by USA Today

CATS can not complete comeback, fall 22-19

OXFORD – October 1, 2022 – David Leveridge- Bluegrass Sports Nation

The number seven ranked Kentucky Wildcats resumed SEC play with a battle on the road with the Ole Miss Running Rebels.  Today’s game marked the return of Running Back Chris Rodriguez who was effective in today’s game with nineteen carries gaining seventy-two yards and a rushing touchdown.  Barion Brown was impressive in today’s game with 164 yards retuning the ball on special teams and nearly scored the ball twice retuning the ball, Brown also contributed to the game with a team high eighty- one receiving yards on two catches.  QB Will Levis had another good game passing for two touchdowns’ but had two very costly turnovers in the closing moments of the game.  The UK Kicking team who has normally been great all season, struggled today starting with a missed FG to tie the game, a missed kick on the extra point attempt, and a mishandled snap on another PAT attempt.  In the end Mississippi made just enough plays and the costly mistakes on the Kentucky special teams to defeat the CATS 22-19 in Oxford giving the CATS there first loss of the season,

Game Recap.

1st Quarter- Mississippi scored the ball twice in the first quarter with two rushing touchdowns and a fast-paced offensive sets.  Zach Evans opened the scoring with a four-yard rushing touchdown capping off a six play, sixty-five-yard drive.  The Rebels scored again as the quarter was ending when Quinton Junkins found a gap in the defense and had an open field in front of him.  Junkins finished the drive with a forty-eight-yard rushing touchdown that completed a six play seventy-nine-yard drive.  Kentucky used a short field to get on the scoreboard with a Rodriguez rushing Touchdown as the quarter ended.  Rodriguez scored on a ten-yard rushing touchdown, but the PAT kick by Kicker Ruffolo was no good.  At the end of the first quarter Mississippi led Kentucky 14-6.

2nd Quarter- Kentucky started the 2nd Quarter in bad field position after the defense forced Mississippi into a three and out, Kentucky had ninety -eight yards off field to drive the ball.  Levis was rushed and almost sacked and threw the ball away, resulting in an intentional grounding and a safety in the endzone.  Mississippi scored the ball again with the leg of kicker J.  Cruze.  Kentucky’s next offensive drive resulted in a scoring possession when Levis found Tayvion Robinson in the endzone for a five-yard passing touchdown and completed a nine play seventy-yard drive.  The Field goal attempt was mishandled and at intermission Mississippi led Kentucky 19-12.

Will Levis – USA Today

3rd Quarter- The Kentucky offense was able to tie the game at nineteen with a passing play from Levis to Jordan Dingle.  The Kentucky offense was effective moving the ball both through the air and on the ground when Rodriguez picked up first downs and critical third down and short possessions.  When the running game broke down, Levis attacked through the air and helped the CATS to move the ball through the air.  After Briefly tying the game at nineteen, the Mississippi Special teams delivered with a score once again off the leg of Kicker J.Cruze.  Cruze connected on twenty-six-yard field goal attempt. With the kick Mississippi regained the lead and led hit Kentucky 22- 19 at the end of the third quarter.

4th Quarter- The Kentucky defense was finally able to step up slow down the up-tempo offense from moving the chains.  Barion Brown showcased his versatility on both special teams and in the Kentucky offensive scheme with impressive plays and picking up yardage.  Kentucky had two drives in the final few minutes that could have resulted in points in the board, but two costly turnovers by Levis prevented the CATS from scoring.  On one possession Levis had the ball near the redzone and had success moving the ball.  Levis chose to keep the ball and rush for a QB keeper to pick up the first down.  Levis initially picked up the first down after hurdling the defender, Levis was spined around and a defensive back knocked the ball loose before Levis was ruled down, resulting in a fumble recovered by Mississippi.  Watching the game, it was apparent the play resulted in a targeting call on the Mississippi defender who hit Levis helmet to helmet, but no flags was called and resulted in the fumble.  The Kentucky defense once again forced Mississippi into a three and out and had one last possession to score.  Kentucky once again put together a good drive and had the ball near the redzone.  Levis found WR Brown downfield and picked up a first down with a forty-yard completion through the air.  A few plays later Levis found WR Dane Key in the endzone good for a touchdown catch, but a costly false start negated the play.  On the next offensive play of the game The Mississippi defense stepped up getting pressure on Levis and forced the QB to fumble the ball resulting in Mississippi recovering the ball.  The game ended on a couple of QB kneel downs resulting in Mississippi defeating Kentucky 22-19.

Game Stats:

  •                       Kentucky 19                                                  Mississippi 22
  • Total yards                     328                                                                   399
  • Passing Yards                220                                                                   213
  • Rushing Yards               108                                                                   186
  • Time of Possession       36:53                                                                 23:07
  • First Downs                   17                                                                      19
  • Turnovers                       2                                                                        1

Player Stats- Kentucky

  • QB Will Levis 18 completions, 24 attempts, Passing yards 220, 2 TD, 2 fumbles.
  • RB Chris Rodriguez 19 carries, 72 yards, 1 TD, Long run 10 yards, Avg per run 3.8
  • RB Izayah Cummings 1 attempt, gaining 23 yards.
  • WR Tayvion Robinson 4 catches, 16 yards receiving, 1 TD, long reception 10 yards.
  • WR Barion Brown 2 catches, 81 yards, long reception 51 yards.  Special team yards 3 catches gaining 164 yards, long return 85 yards.

Player Stats – Mississippi

  • QB Jaxson Dart 15 completions, 29 attempts, 213 yards, 1 INT, 8 rushes gaining 40 yards
  • RB Quinshon Judkins 15 attempts, gaining 106 yards, 1 TD, Long run 48 yards.
  • WR Malik Health 6 receptions gaining 100 yards, long reception 48 yards.

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